Clean Up Day at IMS helps non-profits raise money

Hundreds of thousands of race fans who came to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to sit in the grandstands or party in the Snake Pit left behind tons of trash.

SPEEDWAY, Ind. The Indy 500 may be over, but for many volunteers – the work is just beginning.

Hundreds of thousands of race fans who came to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to sit in the grandstands or party in the Snake Pit left behind tons of trash.

“We normally get the job done in about six hours, but today we’re looking like we’re going to get it done quicker than what we thought,” said David Young, youth pastor at Solid Rock Baptist Church in Pendleton.

This is his group’s sixth year volunteering to help clean up a portion of the grandstand. IMS offers nonprofits the chance to fundraise in exchange for their support to help cleanup.

This year, Young’s team of 40 came with a plan.

“Have half of your group start on one section and then have your six pack guys with the blowers, blow everything to the middle and then your group comes behind you and they pick everything up for you,” Young said.

Young was among several other church groups and nonprofits came out to raise money to support their church and/or community.

This is the first year for the Sanders Temple Church of God in Christ.

Church members started cleaning around 7 am to help raise money to help youth on the east side of Indianapolis.

“It’s stuff everywhere. You wouldn’t even believe, but at the same time there are no trash cans, so they have to leave it somewhere,” said Crystal Boswell of Sanders Temple Church of God in Christ.

Many volunteers were amazed at the volume of trash in the stands.

“Oh my God. It’s a job. It’s a job, but we’re excited about it. We got a long way to go,” said Felicia Brokaw of Sanders Temple Church of God in Christ.

Through all of the trash, there was a silver lining.

“It is a mess, but it helps us out tremendously to get kids from rough backgrounds, teaching them how to work. Then for our church, the unity that that brings for our church to work with our teenagers to train them how to work in society,” Young said.

Many would argue clean up in the Snake Pit was overwhelming.

“It’s amazing to think that this much trash can even be produced by people in one area, but here we are in the Snake Pit,” said Jessica Ucul.

Ucul was actually out collecting trash.

“I’m looking to see what people have left behind and trying to find some treasures that aren’t totally covered in vomit,” Ucul said.

Ucul wasn’t looking for just any kind of trash.

“It’s fun to see the variety of beer cans. There’s some with race cars on them,” Ucul said.

“I like the flat ones because the works already been kind of done for me,” Ucul said.

She’s one of many artists selected to create and design a helmet for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum.

“It will feature nine helmets from the past, historical helmets that trace the evolution of safety and design. There will be nine helmets from living drivers,” Ucul said.

Jessica has one month to find what she needs, starting in the never-ending field of trash in the Snake Pit.

“I do think there’s something really seductive about the beer cans and the beads, you know, they’re designed to be seductive. They’re aluminum. They have their own art and design on the can,” Ucul said.

For more information on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum, click here.

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